Sally is a rescue. A rescue with issues.
But we’ve been working hard since the moment we got her to give her some sort of normal dog life (which in my mind is about halfway between running wild on the plains and being carried around in a purse – leaning a bit more to the running wild part). A normal dog life that includes other dogs. We have a few friends with dogs that Sally can pal around with, but on the whole, we’ve always been pretty wary of introducing other dogs. We never know when she’s going to have a flashback to the wild from whence she came, where all of sudden she has to defend her turf.
Over the past year and a half she’s been going on pack walks twice a week, in addition to our daily walks. It’s not even about the exercise (though exercise is the number one priority in her rehab) – she needed to learn to be around other dogs. Otherwise she was going to spend her entire life walking at the end of our leash or being a loner in the backyard.
But today was a big step – she went to daycare at BowDog. In the early days of Sally’s life with us we were told she needed to be socialized and that doggie daycare was the way to do it. Great idea, we thought. So off she went, to a daycare that was just a cement room only slightly bigger than our house. All the dogs were together; different temperments, sizes, ages, energy levels – all thrown in this cement room. I barely got home before I got the call to come get her. She kept bugging a senior collie to play. The collie just wanted to sleep, but Sally didn’t really understand no, so eventually the collie snapped. And Sally snapped. And got kicked out.
That’s totally understandable – Sally was high energy and hadn’t been socialized – I would have kicked her out too if she made trouble in the first half hour. But it seemed like a catch-22. How could I socialize my dog, if my dog can’t socialize?
Enter BowDog and the pack walks. And Clever Canines – but they deserve a post to themselves.
Last fall BowDog moved beyond pack walks and home boarding to open a huge, awesome facility. Where not all dogs are thrown together. Where temperament is evaluated and considered. Where they make sure your dog is getting mentally tired, not just physically tired from running in circles around a cement room.
In other words, the perfect daycare for Sally. And so, before she’s even had her supper, tonight I have one of these in my kitchen.
Did she behave perfectly? Probably not. Did BowDog behave perfectly with her? You bet. And the rehab continues.